(Closed) Advice Needed – Men and Household Duties

posted 6 years ago in Relationships
Post # 3
Member
4014 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I’m sorry.

I think some men are just like that. I do think that it is unfair of him to act like that when he KNOWS it bothers you when the dishes aren’t done/kitchen isn’t clean. My FI is supposed to be on ‘dish duty’ since I make all the meals, but sometimes I have to say something (a few times!!) to get him to do it. The difference is, though  I hate asking because I feel like I’m nagging, he NEVER gives me any lip when I remind him. He just needs me to tell him what to do! I’m getting used to it but sometimes I reeaallllyyy wish he could take out the trash without me pointing out that he has been trying to stuff things in it for two days! I just have to ask him and he does it, no grumbles.

I’d sit him down and talk to him until you can solve the issue. If its important to you, he shouldn’t have a problem coming to a resolution!

Post # 4
Member
1572 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

Sit down and talk about it in a day or so – wait til things have calmed down a bit. Try telling him what exactly it is that bothers you & why, how it makes you feel, and a suggestion of what he can do/you can do. I’m not a neat freak at all, but I can’t stand dishes in the sink or things piled around the kitchen. If tehre are dishes in the sink, i don’t want to make anything. I’ve explained this to my partner, and I got super mad at him yesterday b/c I’ve been sick and the ONE thing I asked him to do before he went to work was wash the dishes. I wake up and… there’s even more dishes!! He washed them when he got home b/c he knew how much it bothered me (And he’s really good about it).

Everyone has a few things that they’re nit-picky about. You may need to explain to him why you like the kitchen to be clean (for example, at my old house, if I left food out and didn’t clean up well, ants just took over! it was SO gross). Hopefully you two can come to an understanding. Oh, and if it matters, my partner’s brother lived w/ us for 7 or 8 months, and was SO MESSY. He might have died if he had to clean one thing (he washed his sheets ONCE. Seriously). We had to make a chore sheet for him. i’m not saying you should have to do that with your partner, but it may help?

Post # 5
Member
1659 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

For clarity – this isn’t a “man” thing. I’m exactly like your SO when it comes to dishes and tidying up 🙂

As long as your household chores and tasks are divided equally so you’re each contributing to the household, there shouldn’t be an issue as to who completes what and when – if you each know what you’re each responsible for and it’s equal, there won’t be any resentment or nagging. Talk with him about establishing guidelines for how chores are completed, how often, to what degree, etc., and make it even between he two of you. This has worked really well in our household.

 

Post # 6
Member
831 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I agree with the comments so far, especially revisiting the subject when dishes don’t need to be done. One thing I will say though, leaving dirty dishes in the sink overnight or longer is kind of gross. I’m assuming you don’t have a dishwasher, neither do I.  If you leave them in the sink, they start to smell, and stuff dries on them, making them harder to clean. It can also attract bugs or worse. Plus who wants to wake up to a sink full of dishes??? In my apartment, it’s a standing rule – clean sink before bed. Whoever cooks is exempt from dish duty 🙂

Post # 7
Member
11327 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2011

In our house, the absolute rule is: Whoever doesn’t cook cleans up. Before bed. I cook almost all the time which means my DH always does the dishes right after we finish with dinner. Just making a rule like that I feel is helpful because it is a clear and rational division of labor. 

 

If he is simply refusing to do it though, and it is an ongoing problem, perhaps you could negotiate for him doing a chore you really don’t like? Then you can just take on the dishes as your chore so you can do them in the manner you find appropriate and he can do something else that you don’t like to do. But, then he really has to do it. 

 

I just think in general it helps to actually negotiate out responsibilities. Some of my friends think we’re a bit too regimented in the my job/his job stuff at our house– but I tend to be a bit messy and honestly if it wasn’t this way I feel like things just wouldn’t get done. I: cook, go grocery shopping, wash the clothes, wash the sheets/make the bed. Those are my jobs, always. He: does the dishes, takes care of household maintenance, mows the lawn/shovels the driveway, always. We share putting clothes away and cleaning the house (we usually do it together). It just works for us.

Post # 8
Member
4046 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I would tell him that you just have this quirk, you cannot stand to go to bed unless the dishes are put away. Tell him how much it bothers you to walk into a kitchen with dishes in the sink, or wake up to the kitchen in that state. I don’t think you can win this argument with logic – I don’t think you will convince him that there is a right or wrong way to do dishes – what  you need to do is get through to him that this is something YOU need. Hopefully he will step up to the place to help, in order to take care of YOU, not because it is right or wrong. This way you are asking his help, but not criticizing him.

You may also consider using an example – find something that he has a preference for (his car, his haircut, his watch, tv shows, etc) and ask him how he would feel if you didn’t understand his need to have a particular preference met. Like if he liked his steak rare, but you cooked it well done because it was so much easier. Or he hated wearing clothes with wrinkles, but they didn’t bother you, so you didn’t help iron.

I don’t think you will win the “right/wrong” way to keep the kitchen up, but you should be able to make him see that you have preferences in certain areas of life and you need his help attaining them.

Post # 9
Member
1141 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

I can definitely relate to the dishes thing. My BF manages to make a mess out of the entire kitchen, even if he’s just getting a cup of coffee. 

I also agree with the other ladies. Let things cool down, then have a conversation. Explain why it drives you crazy and that it would really make you happy if the kitchen was kept clean. I’ve found that if I make sure I don’t sound like I’m accusing him of anything, he tends to listen a lot better. If he thinks I’m attacking him (I use that term losely) he gets defensive and nothing get done. 

Everyone has their own style of cleaning/lifestyle and while it’s good to respect that, living together requires compromises on both sides.

Post # 10
Member
2320 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

We were in the opposite situation. I am terrible at cleaning up in general.  After a couple fights about it we had to impliment a chore list. We broke it down so that we both had a large task for the week, like if I have kitchen duty DH has to do the laundry.  It’s worked pretty well but sometimes we both get a little lazy and have to remind eachother to do the chores.

I agree with PP’s. Revisit the subject after things have cooled down.

Post # 11
Member
2620 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

Soooo… I’m sort of the messy one who can be a lot like your husband. And I think that my reaction to the situation if in your husband’s shoes would be to think to myself the following. Bear in mind that I’m offering this up not to criticize you or to say you’re wrong; I just thought that maybe it’d give you a different perspective. So if I were DH in your situation, this is what would go through my head:

1. Why isn’t my preference (doing the dishes the morning after) as valid as my spouse’s preference to do them before bed? 

2. It’s fine if you want to have a neurosis about this, but I’m not getting roped into it. 

3. I don’t enjoy feeling like you’re judging me. I’m enjoying my free time right now. Please stop making me feel lazy and worthless and unproductive for having some downtime. 

4. And please stop making me feel like I’m unhygenic. I may not place such a high premium on having a spotless kitchen as you do, but that doesn’t make me less of a person. 

I’m NOT trying to justify those responses or imply that they’re “correct” (although they are honest0, but maybe it’ll shed some light on what *might* be going through your SO’s head. I can tell you that one thing DH and I have learned is that if we want someone to do a chore or help out with something, and the other person is reading or watching TV or otherwise doing something enjoyable, it will go over MUCH better to say something like, “Hey, at the next commercial break or when you finish the chapter or in 20 minutes can you do xyz?”

Before we got our marriage-saving dishwasher, my DH and I made a pact that we would do the dishes together after dinner (we also cook together) and we’d listen to favorite radio programs or favorite music while we did it as incentive. 

Post # 12
Member
5494 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2011

We are the exact opposite of you and your FI.  My DH is a dish nazi.  He used to constantly nag me about washing the dishes as soon as I use them, (or rinsing them and putting them in the dish washer).  However, I must have some sort of mental blockage when it comes to dishes.  It’s just one of those things that I don’t like doing so I just avoid it and close my eyes to it. (otherwise i’m very clean and neat and do a ton around the house).

Basically I told him that if the dishes bother you so much, then you be responsible for them, and I’ll in turn be responsible for some other house chore that I’m really particular about, (i.e. laundry).  it has worked well for us.  I haven’t done the dishes in years, (with a few, infrequent exceptions).  This way DH can have the dishes done to his liking since he’s doing it himself.

I don’t think it’s fair of you to expect your husband to cater to your particularities just like i’m sure you wouldn’t just cater to his if it was something you didn’t understand our didn’t want to do.  If you want them done in a particul way or at a particular time, i think you have to do them yourself.  You can balance it out by asking him to be primarily responsible for some other chore around the house.  

I think it’s not fair of you to get mad at him when you chose to do the dishes and house chores while sick.  The world was not going to end if the dishes sat in the sink a few extra hours.  It would have been very thoughtful of him to do them for you, but still, I think it’s unfair to be mad at him in this situation, (especialyl because he offered to do them later).

Post # 13
Member
5494 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2011

@BothCoasts: 

2. It’s fine if you want to have a neurosis about this, but I’m not getting roped into it. 

3. I don’t enjoy feeling like you’re judging me. I’m enjoying my free time right now. Please stop making me feel lazy and worthless and unproductive for having some downtime. 


YES!  those two thoughts would always go through my head if DH gave me dirty looks while he was washing dishes and I was watching tv.  You phrased this much better than I did in my post.

Post # 14
Member
3978 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

It’s difficult to understand when people have different ‘timelines’ than yourself for certain tasks. Whether they should be done every day, every other day, every week, every month, etc. or if they should be done immediately.

If you were raised to understand that doing a task daily or every other day was perfect, then someone who does it once a week would seem like a slob and someone who does it immediately would seem like a prude.

I imagine that he feels like you’re belitting his own sense of cleanliness and trying to show him up by stepping in when he doesn’t meet your timeline.

What I would do is explain that you know this is clearly causing you both stress and making a rift. Then I’d suggest you both write have a list of all the household chores that you feel are necessary, then combine both of your lists and mark down how often and how quickly they need to be done (what can wait and what can’t).

Then you’ll have to compromise–which items are most important to you that they’re done exactly on your timeline? Which things can wait a bit? Which things are important to him? What does he feel he’s doing and what do you feel like you’re doing? Talk out each item–maybe over email with a spreadsheet if you’re prone to getting emotional. Then you can think about your words and consider how they’ll be taken.

Post # 15
Member
831 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I don’t think she’s being unreasonable at all by expecting the dishes to be done the same day they are used. It’s a completely normal timeline, especially if she cooked the meal, it’s the least he can do. It sounds like they both work, so it’s not like she is a stay at home wife who will take the burden of most of the household chores. She also mentioned that he says he’ll do them the next day, but not until the end of the next day. If that.

It’s not like leaving unfolded clean laundry in the dryer for an extra day. It’s dirty dishes festering in the sink, an exposed area, not inside a dishwasher. Now, some people might be OK with that but I sure wouldn’t be if it happened on a regular basis.

Another annoying thing about leaving dishes in the sink for that long is that it renders the sink useless until the dishes are done.

I definitely don’t think wanting the dishes done same day means you have an unreasonable sense of cleanliness or a neurosis. It’s normal.

Post # 16
Member
1004 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I agree with BothCoasts, Meowkers, and kala_way… and I too, am more like your FI in that I don’t always do dishes every day. More like every other, though we usually only have dinner dishes. I work full time, go to graduate school two nights a week, and tutor one evening a week. I am busy and stressed and  I absolutely HATE doing dishes.

Our house rule is that whoever doesn’t cook does the dishes but since we don’t have a dishwasher I often feel like it takes me much longer to clean up some of the messes FI makes whipping up a meal (he does all the cooking) AND sometimes I resent it because he has been relaxing since he got off work and I have been going to class/doing homework/attending mandatory work meetings/tutoring.

However, even though I know it really bugs him that I don’t clean up the dishes everyday he does not nag if I decide to wait until the next evening. (Yes, the next evening… NO WAY would I be able to wake up early enough to get it done in the morning! I am usually up late studying).

It would upset me though, if he simply kept doing them for me every meal and holding it against me. I would resent that he could not let ME decide when to do MY chore, and thought I was lazy because I waited until the next day.

Also, it was really hard for me to get used to having to wash ALL the dishes by hand! My family used a dishwasher for everything but the pots and pans. Can’t wait until we get one!

I don’t know what you and FI’s workload are like other than dishes… but some people, like me just require more downtime to unwind at the end of the day. It REALLY kills me to do the dishes right after dinner, but an hour or two later is much better after I’ve had some ME time.

Finally, I like the suggestion to phrase it “when you get a chance,” or “when you’re done with that, can you…?” because it is not as confrontational and I know I would respond better to a gentle reminder. Also, for me the sigh would not be directed TO my FI, but more like “yeah, I guess so” I mean, who LIKES doing dishes? Maybe you should not let the sighs annoy you, they might not be directed at you.

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